The arguments in this article proceed from the grounded empirical observation that over the past three decades the character of the British State has transformed from an industrial welfare state into a competition state. Hence, it is argued that successive governments, regardless of their traditional ideological complexion, have increasingly assumed the characteristics of what Michael Oakeshott would term an ‘enterprise association’. The core concern of government is no longer seen in terms of traditional conceptions of social justice and the public interest but in adjusting to, sustaining, promoting, and expanding an open global economy in order to capture its perceived benefits. It is further argued that Cameron's Conservatives look set to continue this trend if they win the next general election. Indeed the principles of the Competition State are more in keeping with the traditional pragmatism of Conservative statecraft, its acceptance of change and strong but limited government, and its emphasis on the art of winning elections through wealth creation and governing competence.